May 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Planned Parenthood reacts to "devastating" Supreme Court leak

Picture of people standing in front of the Supreme Court at night
Abortion rights and anti-abortion activists rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 2, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Planned Parenthood on Monday issued a reminder that abortion is still legal in the U.S., following the release of leaked documents that show that the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade.

Driving the news: "This leaked opinion is horrifying and unprecedented," said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement.

  • "While we have seen the writing on the wall for decades, it is no less devastating, and comes just as anti-abortion rights groups unveil their ultimate plan to ban abortion nationwide," she added — referring to a Washington Post report that some U.S. senators were preparing to introduce a bill to ban abortions nationwide after the sixth week of pregnancy.
  • She noted that Planned Parenthood centers remain open and abortion care is still accessible. "We will continue to fight like hell to protect the right to access safe, legal abortion," McGill Johnson added.

Catch up fast: Politico published a leaked document on Monday reportedly authored by Justice Samuel Alito in February that shows that the court is prepared to get rid of its precedents protecting abortion rights in the country.

  • "Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives," the document says.
  • The document is related to Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case challenging a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks — before the viability line established by the Supreme Court's precedents, which is at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The big picture: The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the abortion clinic in the Dobbs case, said that while it was not clear if the document reported by Politico was "legitimate," if the Supreme Court overturned its precedents it would be "an unjustified, unprecedented stripping away of a guaranteed right that has been in place for nearly five decades."

  • "It would represent the most damaging setback to the rights of women in the history of our country," said Nancy Northup, the center's president and CEO in a statement.

The other side: "If the draft opinion made public tonight is the final opinion of the court, we wholeheartedly applaud the decision," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group.

  • "The American people have the right to act through their elected officials to debate and enact laws that protect unborn children and honor women," Dannenfelser added.
  • "If Roe is indeed overturned, our job will be to build consensus for the strongest protections possible for unborn children and women in every legislature."

Don't forget: If the Supreme Court were to overturn its precedents, abortion access would no longer be federally protected and instead a patchwork of state laws would govern the procedure.

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